Technology Increases Flexibility for EMBA Students

Abboud Kassis decided to pursue his MBA as preparation for an executive role, but with two young children at home and a demanding work life, he also wanted flexibility. 

The hybrid EMBA Program at the Faculty of Business Administration of Université Laval (FSA ULaval) in Quebec City, Canada, offered that flexibility and more—a smaller class size, quality faculty, a pragmatic approach, and an international experience.

The program’s virtual class platform makes it easy for students and faculty to engage, he says, and the program records live sessions for the convenience of students. Discussion forums also added another dynamic learning opportunity.

Technology opens new possibilities

“This business school definitely has a technological edge, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit us all, FSA ULaval was very quick in transitioning our classes to fully virtual in a blink of an eye,” says Kassis, who works for Seedbox Technology, a company that specializes in e-commerce solutions.

The program was hybrid from the start in 2010 with the aim of minimizing the in-person class time for busy working professionals while at the same time maintaining an in-class presence to strengthen cohort cohesion.

Hybrid program offers the best of both worlds

Students meet in person one Saturday every two weeks and one full week at the beginning of each program year for a total of 45 days of in-person class time that focuses heavily on case analyses, simulations, guest speakers, and other forms of interaction. The program uses many kinds of technology, including Adobe Connect for live sessions that are also taped, Zoom for team meetings and conferences, and in-house simulations, among others.

“Our digital learning environment aims to recreate an in-person learning experience,” says Andre Gascon, professor, and director of MBA programs. “The hybrid program provides the best of both worlds.”

Student satisfaction with program is high

And students agree. An alumni survey showed an almost 100 percent satisfaction rate with the program. Gascon predicts that more programs will make use of online options. “The COVID-19 crisis will certainly push some schools to start thinking about moving part of their program online if they have not done it already,” says Gascon.

Kassis valued the online dimension of the program and looked forward to the in-class portion of EMBA, which broaden his network. In the end, the program helped him reach the career milestone he desired. 

“After only my first year within the EMBA, I got promoted to CFO,” says Kassis. “Going through this EMBA sends a clear statement to my peers: I can handle anything. It’s proof of commitment, resilience, and leadership.”

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